Category Archives: Utah

Canyoneering at Leprechaun Canyon, Utah

hunter leprechaun

Full of enthusiasm from our Little Wild Horse Canyon day, we headed south down the highway past Hanksville to the North Wash area where there are a cluster of slot canyons that are fairly family friendly. We determined that our monstrosity would not fit into the trailhead so continued down the road about 3 miles and found a fabulous dirt pull-off that became our campsite for the night. The full moon was out and the valley was awash with light.

camper redcliff pull out oct 18

 

The full Leprechaun Canyon is a drop in slot that requires a bunch of technical gear and 6-8 hours to complete. The family friendly version is to hike about 1.5 miles up the creek bed at the bottom, climb up some rocks and enter into the bottom of the canyon. This takes you over top of some cracks and into an amazing subway (big space) that is full of red stripes and makes lots of echoes.

hunter rock leprechaun

lee hunter subway leprechaun

After the subway you reach some water. We did this hike when Hunter was 3 and success was making it to the subway as he walked most of the way on his own. Neither one of us could remember what the trail write up said about the water and after much discussion, decided that this is an ADVENTURE and we should push through to check it out. Our standard approach on things like this is to send Tim first… lucky him!

tim going into water

He made it through with only his shorts wet so he returned, we had more discussion, and then loaded Hunter onto his shoulders and off they went…

tim hunter pre water

hunter tim heading into water

The great news is that everyone made it across the VERY cold waist deep water. The not so great news is that there was another water feature about 10 feet further down. Both Tim and I tested it out and after 2 feet it was already close to waist deep and had a really slimy/slippery bottom.

lee heading into water #2

More discussion ensued and we determined that safety had to prevail and we would turn back. That meant going BACK through the very cold waist deep smaller pool AGAIN!

lee in water

lee coming back in water

 

It was a very fast run from the edge of the water back out to the main canyon and the sun beam – the water was FREEZING…

We felt somewhat validated when a group of 4 men came through about 10 minutes later (doing the same sprint from the water to the sunbeam) as they had rappelled into the canyon and then had to swim across water feature #2!

hunter leprechaun muck

Hunter decided to play in the muck zone as we headed back out of the main canyon. 2 1/2 hours of hiking / exploring and everyone had fun. We will come back again one day and rappel in from the top and that will officially complete our Leprechaun Canyon experience.

Canyoneering at Little Wild Horse Canyon, Utah

lee hunter bell canyon slot

After spending the afternoon at Goblin Valley State Park, we headed over to the  trailhead for Little Wild Canyon. Most of the crowds were gone and we found a quiet spot at the end of the overflow parking lot and set up camp for the night. With about an hour of sunshine left we enjoyed sitting outside in our chairs reading in the setting sun while Hunter played lego in the trailer. It was close to a full moon that evening and the skies were amazing to see – so clear with no lights around.

camper little wildhorse

Our original plan had been to have a slight sleep in and then hit the trails by around 10 am, thinking that it would be a 4 hour hike. Just past 9am, Tim announced that cars were starting to stream into the parking lot and that we needed to move up our timeline to avoid hiking with the masses. Turns out this was the equivalent of a “PD day” so all the kids were out of school for a long weekend…We managed to hit the trailhead by 9:30 and unfortunately this was about the same time as a group of 13 year old boyscouts, whom we leapfrogged the entire day.

Little Wild Horse Canyon is an in/out canyon that can be turned into an 8 mile loop when you match it up with a BLM trail section and then return on Bell Canyon. We boldly chose to do that, knowing we were pushing our limits with Hunter… with no where to go, and no time limit we thought “why not”???

lee hunter bell slot

Both Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon are family friendly slot canyons, which means that you don’t need ropes to get around features and with a little creativity, you can make it up (or down) all the features on the trails. Hunter enjoyed putting his new “climbing” skills to good use and could often be convinced to not take the easy path.

little wild horse, utah

The BLM connector section was the hardest part of the trail as it was pure hiking with not alot of distractions. We played a number of games of 20 questions and then moved onto verbal games related to school work, managing to cover off Geography (Canadian Provinces & Capitals) AND the Human Body (bones & digestive system). It made the time go faster and we had lots of laughs 🙂

tim hunter lwh canyon 1

After all was said and done, we made it the full 8 miles. It took us 5 1/2 hours and Hunter was very tired by the end. We were so proud of him as there was little to no moaning or complaining and he kept his feet moving most of the time. Definitely the longest he has ever hiked – woo hoo! (the $100 we spent on hiking boots at MEC is sure paying off!).

Rock scrambling at Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

hunter goblins

Goblin Valley State Park is about 2 hours from Moab or 30 minutes from Green River, in central Utah, just south of I-70. It’s an incredible place for families as the “goblins” are all kid height and you are allowed to play in, among and on them (with respectful behaviour of course). It would make for the ultimate capture the flag site…

There is a fairly large parking lot and a covered picnic area, which make it easy to come and play for the day. They have also built a campground with rustic sites and yurts. Unfortunately they were full so we only came to play for the afternoon.

hunter goblins 2

It was a perfect precursor to our upcoming week of canyoning as Hunter got to climb/scramble on rock features that were usually only 6 feet off the ground. We spent alot of time testing out small moves and learning just how sticky slickrock is. It gave him a tonne of confidence although there were some teary moments through the learning process… Pushing your comfort zone is always tough!

 

We were here when Hunter was 3 and had a fun time. It was great to see that this is definitely “kid friendly” – and can probably span from 3 – 16 years easily. We highly recommend it!

Best ride of the week! Moab Brand Mountain Bike Trails

lee hunter moab brand trails 2nd time

 

Today was our best ride of the week…

With a cool morning (i.e. down near freezing), we were pretty slow to get moving for the day. I got some work done and the boys laid in bed and watched a movie. When we finally got ourselves going at noon, we went back to the Moab Brand Trails where we had ridden the first day. It was cool and windy out but the trails were fairly sheltered from the wind which was great.

We started out with plans to do the EZ/Lazy loop and discovered a new sign showing trail directionality and boy did it make a difference! We rode it the opposite way last time and it was not nearly as fun… big kudos to the trail builders – when ridden the proper way it had amazing flow. It is a 5km loop with 80% dirt and 20% slickrock, lots of ups and downs and it finishes with a fabulous set of curves and berms that flow together perfectly.

We had so much fun in our first loop that we decided to do it again. Hunter was revved up today and Tim bet him $1.00 (which I agreed to match) that he couldn’t catch the person in front of us on the trail as a way to keep him moving and focused – it was a genius move as Hunter powered down the trail and managed to catch 3 separate people on the next loop. He was very pleased with his $6.00 and I was left wondering if this counts as bribery or incentive and if there is a difference???

We broke for a late lunch and then headed back out on the trails. This time we headed left and took North 40 up to the top of Maverick, which is a flowing small downhill, and then back out North 40 to the beginning of the EZ/Lazy loop, which we knocked out a 3rd time. Hunter started the loop inquiring if he was still getting paid to pass people, and we agreed YES.

Overall we covered 20km of single track and Hunter rode the entire distance with a smile on his face. He also came away with $10.00 from passing people on the trails. It was a great last ride in Moab…

 

Mountain Biking – Klonzo Trails (Moab, Utah)

hunter tim wahoo trail klonzo

We continued to explore the Moab mountain bike trail systems and ventured out to the Klonzo area yesterday. It is 12 miles north of Moab and next to the Sovereign Trail off-road system.

lee klonzo trails

It was a great trail system built through a system of 4 loops and some connector trails. A 100% intermediate system, it was a nice mix of slick rock and dirt/sand trails. We chose to do the “turn right” network as recommended by the Utah mountain bike trails website. It was an 8.5k cross country ride with lots of variety and diversity.

lee klonzo trails 2